Mark 10:38 You know not what you ask...

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

No, you have not seen what you are asking for yourselves: do you have the power to drink this cup that I myself am drinking and the dunking that I myself am being dunked to be dunked.

KJV : 

Mark 10:38 Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The first word out of Jesus's mouth here is "no." The "know" here actually means "see" and the form is an action completed in the past, so "have not seen." What Jesus asks is whether or not those questioning him have the ability to emulate him.  Jesus uses the pronoun "I" in this verse twice for emphasis. The verb carries this information already so using the pronoun as a subject emphasized it, like saying "I myself." The two active verbs, "drink" and "baptize" are both the present tense, something happening now. Jesus is not speaking of some specific time in the future. Oddly, the Greek word between the two clauses is usually translated as "or" but it is translated as "and" here.

In the Greek, there is a certain humor in this verse that is lost because we don't translated "baptism" and "baptize" to the English of "dunking" and "to drunk." Using the Greek words gives them a more formal meaning that Jesus's contemporaries would not have heard.

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Jesus is saying that we do not sufficiently understand our desires to know what we ask of ourselves. As human, we fail to imagine the implications of getting what we think we want. For Christ, spirit, mind, body, and emotional relationships are all connected. Spiritual rewards require physical, mental, and emotional sacrifices.

The symbols of drinking from the cup and and being washed by baptism are here. From the context, we can tell that both are difficult (requiring power) and are a type of testing. They are important symbols of Christ's major theme of the transformation process.

Baptism is the easier of the two because it was introduced by John as a ritual washing and rebirth of water.  Here, however, this washing is equated with drowning (another meaning for the word baptizo) of our old life and literally dying to be reborn to a new life. Turning ourselves over to another, being submerged, and emerging to see the world anew encapsulates all three aspects of the temporal life: the emotional, the physical, and the mental.

"Drinking from the cup" is more interesting because it is an older Jewish symbol. In the OT, God forces the evil to drink from the cup so that they lose their senses and are humiliated (see Psa 75:8, Isa 51:22, Jer 25:15-17, Jer 49:12, Eze 23:32, and Hab 2:16).  Again, if you read these verse, the process of drinking cover the three aspects of temporal life: physical pleasure, mental disorientation, leading to pubic humiliation. So, as death is the effect of drowning, humiliation is the effect of drinking.

However, while baptism carries its message of rebirth in emerging from the water, drinking from the cup carries no such message of transformation in the OT testament sense. This is an idea that Christ added: that all that falls to humiliation from faith and duty will also rise.
 

The first part of this verse is that statement of a simple truth. Since we do not know where we come from or where we are going, we never know what to ask for and what our desires mean.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐκ "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

οἴδατε (verb 2nd pl perf ind act) "Know" is from oida which is a form of eido, (eido) which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."

τί (pron sg neut acc) "What" is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

αἰτεῖσθε: (verb 2nd pl pres ind mp) "You ask" is from aiteo, which means "to ask", "to demand", "to beg", "to claim," and "to ask for one's own use."

δύνασθε (verb 2nd pl pres ind mp) "Can" is from the verb, dynamai, which means "to have power by virtue of your own capabilities", "to be able," and "to be strong enough."

πιεῖν (verb aor inf act) "To drink" is from pino, which means "to drink", "to celebrate," and "soak up."

τὸ (article sg neut acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ποτήριον (noun sg neut acc) "Cup" is from poterion, which means "a drinking-cup", "a wine-cup", "a jar," and "a receptacle" for offerings in the temple.

(pron sg neut acc) "That" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἐγὼ (pron 1st sg masc nom) "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and "for myself."

 πίνω, ( verb 1st sg pres ind act ) "Drink of" is from pino, which means "to drink", "to celebrate," and "soak up." -- The word seems chosen for its double meaning. "To drink" also means "to celebrate."

(conj/adv)  "And" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." OR (exclam) "Or" is e which is an exclamation meaning "hi!" OR (adv) "Or" is e, which is an adverb meaning "in truth" and "of a surety".

τὸ (article sg neut acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."--

βάπτισμα ( noun sg neut acc ) "Baptism" is baptisma, which is only in the New Testament (and then by Jesus only six or so time. It means "baptism."

(pron sg neut acc) "That" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings. -- The word translated as "that" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

ἐγὼ (pron 1st sg masc nom) "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and "for myself."

βαπτίζομαι ( verb 1st sg pres ind mp ) "Baptized" is baptizo, which means "to dip", "to plunge", "to be drenched", "to be drowned," and "getting in deep water."

βαπτισθῆναι; ( verb aor inf pass ) "Baptized" is baptizo, which means "to dip", "to plunge", "to be drenched", "to be drowned," and "getting in deep water."

KJV Analysis: 

Ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the following verb.

know -- The word translated as "know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English. It is plural, address not just to the mother, but to the family. It is also in the tense indicating something completed in the past.

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. This is the first word in the sentence, though it negattes the following verb.

what -- There word translated as "what" means "anything" or "anyone."

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the following verb.

ask: -- The verb translated as "ask" has shades of meaning from "demand" to "claim." However, it is in a form where the subject acts on or for himself. In this case, the sense is the later, "you ask for yourself."

can -- The verb translated as "can" indicates having the power, strength, or desire to accomplish something. It is not a helping verb like in English. The form is again some acting on or for themselves, but that sense is understood if we say "have the power."

ye - This is from the second-person, plural form of the following verb.

drink -- The word "drink" is the Greek for meaning to "drink". It also has a double meaning. "To drink" also means "to celebrate."

of -- This is not justified by the form of the following noun, which is a simply object, not a possessive form as this word might indicate, but adding it makes the English more formal.

the -- The word translated as "the"  is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

cup -- The word for " cup" means "a drinking-cup", "a wine-cup", "a jar," and "a receptacle" for offerings in the temple. The cup is used by Jesus as a symbol for sharing burdens.

that -- The word translated as "that" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

I -- -- The pronoun "I" is added to add emphasis that he is referring to his own words. It is unnecessary because the first-person indication is part of the verb ending. Christ sometimes uses it humorously to refer to himself.

drink -- The word "drink" is the Greek for meaning to "drink". It also has a double meaning. "To drink" also means "to celebrate." The tense is the present, not something happening in the future.

of? -- Again, this "of" is not arise from anything in the Greek.

and -- "And" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison. The same word could also be the exclamation "hi" or the adverb meaning "in truth."

be -- This is from the passive form of the following verb.

baptized -- The word translated as "baptism" means to "dunk" or "to dip."

with -- There is no Greek word meaning "with" here. It is added to make the English flow moe smoothly.

the -- The word translated as "the"  is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

baptism -- This Greek noun first appears in the Gospels and is a noun form of the cerb that means "to dunk" or "to dip" so "dunking" or "dipping."

that -- The word translated as "that" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

I -- The pronoun "I" is added to add emphasis that he is referring to his own words. It is unnecessary because the first-person indication is part of the verb ending. Christ sometimes uses it humorously to refer to himself.

am -- This arises from the passive form of the word. This is something that is being done to Jesus.

baptized - The word translated as "baptism" means to "dunk" or "to dip."

with? -- There is no Greek word meaning "with" here. It is added to make the English flow moe smoothly.

Front Page Date: 

Oct 21 2019